JScott Monthly Missive: Nov Edition
My monthly list of resources, life hacks, and life lessons. Hit reply and tell me what you have been up to, what you are reading and what neat stuff you have discovered lately!
Discoveries and Life-hacks
App: Way of Life. I have been using this app for a little over a year. It is used for habit tracking (good and bad habits) and displays the trends in your behavior. Since I am easily driven by the urge to check off a box or press a button, this app helps me improve. One of the features I like is that it tracks your "streak" when performing a habit. That increases the pressure to complete the habit today (if I don't, my count will reset to zero tomorrow). I only track 3-4 habits at a time--the most I can realistically hope to change in a given time period. iOS and Android versions are available.
Habit: Resting the Room. Making sure that you put everything away and are ready to start again next time. This can be cleaning and putting away your tools after working on a job, making your bed in the morning, etc. My friend, Thomas M. often helps me with major repairs and remodeling projects. He always "resets" the room by organizing all the tools, materials and cleaning the job site at the end of the day. Unfortunately, this is not my normal habit (I just work until I am exhausted and then abandon everything in a mess), so my new goal for 2019 is to "be like Thomas" and always reset the room/project when I leave it.
Audio Book: Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda. An interesting look into product development by one of the software engineers who worked on the first iPhone, specifically on the design and functioning of the keyboard. One could argue that the touchscreen keyboard (with predictive text) was the largest innovation of the iPhone--without a working keyboard, it would have failed badly. A previous Apple product (the Newton) failed largely due to its problems with the keyboard and data entry. The iterative process that Apple used to get the best design for the product was fascinating and shows the value of agile processes for product development. I recommend this book to anyone interested in how to make great products.
Audio Book: Fear by Bob Woodward. Obviously a lot of Woodward's sources had an ax to grind when they talked with Woodward, but even taking that into account this book is a chilling account of the campaign and first year of the Trump presidency. The Trumpians don't just have contempt for government but have no idea regarding the basics of American society and the critical roles that our governmental structure plays in it. I will have to give Steve Bannon credit: He knew that the electoral college system would make a national campaign weak, and instead had Trump run as if he was running for Governor in four key states that would flip the electoral college vote. If you are not interested in the inner workings of politics, then I would not recommend.
Audio Book: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. This great book chronicle's Trevor's childhood and early life in South Africa. I had forgotten a lot about South Africa during apartheid and learned a lot more in this autobiography. Trevor's mom is a fascinating character. Very funny and sometimes sad. I highly recommend this book to all.
New Podcast: Pivot. Two of my favorite technology critics unite on one great (and short) weekly podcast. @karaswisher and @ScottGallowy are the co-hosts who take a critical look at big tech and its impact on society.
Trying to keep to the habit of Exploring-->Learning-->Building--> Sharing. I managed to get a few things shared during the past month that might be of interest:
Educational Exercise: The Blockchain Game. I developed this resource as a tool for explaining the basics of blockchain technology to students with a hands-on exercise. So far I have tested it with several different groups, and it seems to be an excellent way to lay the foundation for exploring blockchain applications. All materials and an accompanying "walkthrough" video can be found at:
YouTube Video: Six things this 50yr old slacker/hacker/professor has learned about creating YouTube videos. I am becoming more convinced that Faculty members need to be learning about YouTube, recording videos and posting their educational content online. This video details some of what I have learned about making YouTube videos in the past months.
YouTube Videos: Review of Full Focus vs. Panda planners. I am always in search of a more perfect planning system. During the second half of the year, I have been trying the Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt and The Panda Planner. Each has their good qualities, and I am still working with the Panda planner this quarter.
YouTube Video: Shredded Wheat: The Jackson Way. My first cooking video!! This is the way my mom made shredded wheat for me: place in boiling water, cover with butter, sprinkle with sugar, and cut into squares.... seems perfectly logical.
What I'm looking forward to
Getting responses to this month's missive from you all, hearing about the cool stuff you are doing and the resources/lifehacks you are using!! (just hit the reply button and fill me in!)
Meeting and hearing Stu Eizenstat talk on the MU campus on December 5th at noon (Smith Forum/RJI) about his new book on former President Jimmy Carter. Here is a flyer with details
Speaking and running the blockchain game at the monthly meeting of The Institute of Internal Auditors Central Missouri Chapter on March 13th, 2019. If you want in, let me know and I'll hook you up!
Speaking at the COMO Blockchain summit, on March 8 and 9th, 2019. I am also on the organizing committee, and we are currently looking for speakers and sponsors (several will be announced shortly). Visit Como Blockchain Summit for more information and to submit a proposal!!
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